February 26, 2024

Maintain plant health under stress conditions

Phil Krieg

DECATUR, Ill. — It’s just about guaranteed crops will experience stress at some point in the growing season — and this year was no exception.

As of June 20, all of Illinois and most of Indiana were in the abnormally dry to severe drought range, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Rain finally returned in July to help the stressed plants.

Phil Krieg, Syngenta Crop Protection agronomy service representative in southern Illinois and southwestern Indiana, said fungicide can play a role in maintaining plant health under stress conditions.

“June this year was a month of nothing but questions. Growers were asking what they should do and how to react to the weather, because most of them have fungicides as part of their production plan,” Krieg said.

“We spent a lot of time working with our retail partners and with customers, talking to them about that same topic. What does a fungicide do in times of dry and maybe hot weather?”


Plants, particularly corn, overreact to stress such as drought, heat or excessive wet conditions.

“They produce certain reactive enzymes under stress. They sort of go into that protection mode,” Krieg said.

“As these plants go into that protection mode and are overreacting to stress, producing those enzymes to protect it through that weather. We can’t reverse that and it becomes defensive.

“We see plants at that time of the year when a corn plant is setting its rows around lose a couple of rows of kernels on an ear. We can start to lose kernel length. Silk production at that point is very important because we want those silks to remain healthy and continue to grow and develop so it can pollinate.”

Krieg said fungicides can play a role in keeping the plant from overreacting during stress, and Syngenta’s Adepidyn technology is one such active ingredient that can achieve that.

“It’s very, very good at helping that plant not overreact to that stress. It helps that plant sort of stay on its normal track, doesn’t overreact to stress, allowing more time in there before that plant overreacts, while it can still capture some better weather in maybe a few days,” the agronomist said.

“That plant health benefit, although we don’t always visualize it well, is what’s happening inside that plant and keeping that plant from overreacting.”


Krieg was asked about the timing of a fungicide application in it relation to plant stress.

“That application window in corn is pretty wide. We start talking about fungicide applications of things like Miravis Neo or Trivapro in that V5 stage, upward all the way through vegetative growth period,” he said.

“Most of those applications are going to have their greatest value probably between V5 and let’s just say V8 because that’s when that plant can be subjected to some of that stress that we’re trying to mitigate.

“Fungicides, especially our portfolio at Syngenta with the Miravis brands with Adepidyn technology, with Trivapro with the Solatenol technology, we’ve learned so much since 2015-2016 on what these fungicides are capable of doing beyond disease control.

“That’s really been important to help our farmers use those products wisely, commit to doing it and stick with their plan, because we’re not looking at just disease control. We’re looking at that plant health.”

Tom Doran

Tom C. Doran

Field Editor